Summary: THe signs of the times are always before us. Do we see the writing on the wall?
THE WRITING ON THE WALL
Most recognize this passage from the Book of Daniel; almost any Sunday school student has heard this story. Most of us can tell the story that is narrated for us in this passage. It is about a foolhardy people who did not see the signs, and as a result their kingdom was overthrown. I am afraid here in America we do not see the signs of moral decay.
Preoccupation with leisure/Cynicism toward Religion
(Read Daniel 5:1-4)
Belshazzar and the nobles were into throwing parties; their security was in their great wealth. Rome was a similar Empire, yet history remembers, “Rome burned while Nero fiddled.” There are similar signs here in America, and in the Church at large.
Several years ago a man was asked why he loved his job, he replied I get 24 sick days a year, 5 weeks paid vacation, 14 paid holidays, what was not to like? The man only liked his job for time he had off. But just as in American society so it is in the church, we come, put in our hour, leave. America experienced great growth in the church during the Great Awakening early in the 20th Century, what is different? Why is there such a battle between Church and State? Was not the State founded on the principles of theChurch? Today the American Society at large would rather have nothing to do with Religion or God. However preoccupation is not the only sign of moral decay there is also
Obsession with materialism:
There was once a noted businessman named Eli Black he is noted for two events in his life, one is the multi million-dollar takeover of the United Fruit conglomerate. In a book called “An American Company” an executive described a business lunch he had with Mr. Black. When the waitress brought a plate of cheese and crackers as an appetizer, Black reached out and took them, placed them on the table, blocked them with his arms, and continued talking. The executive hadn’t eaten for hours and hinted that he would like a cracker. But Black acted as though he had not heard him and went on with the meeting. Later Mr. Black placed a cracker and some cheese on his fingertips and continued to talk, then placed the cracker and cheese on the executive’s plate, blocking the rest with his arm as before. It was clear Mr. Black was in charge, manipulating others as he pleased. The other noted event of Mr. Black’s life is he jumped to his death from the 42nd floor of the Pan Am building. Materialism has never brought anyone happiness, ask people you meet today “What is the American Dream?” You may not be so surprised when you hear the answer. And yet we wonder why America is in social decay. But these are not the only signs of social decay there is
Disregard for danger,
After Belshazzar heard the warning, did he heed? No
In America we see thousands of kids carrying guns to public schools, soon will be the 1 year anniversary of the shooting at Columbine, we are supposed to be the richest, most educated society in the world, why is this happening. In the 50’s and 60’s chewing gum and talking were the biggest problems in our schools, today murder and rape plague or schools. The thing is we only hear of a small portion of it. Everyday in inner city works, children are murder, raped, or on drugs. Smoking has hit the 10 year olds, and many high schoolers are parents before graduation. When my oldest graduated High School, the graduating class was 102. 67 of those were girls, 10 of those girls were pregnant during the graduation exercise, and 5 others already had children. 15 out of 67 were or were on their way to being mothers. Do we see the danger?
In 1969 in Pass Christian Mississippi, a group of people was preparing to have a “Hurricane Party” as they faced a storm called Camille. (Read news clip)
These signs are seen in our society today what are we doing about it? Well I think the writer of the article about Eli Black says it best “When we play follow the leader check to see who is at the head of the line. For the Babylonians Belshazzar lead them to Medeo-Persian captivity, Eli Black for all his power and money ended up in suicide, Jesus Christ in all His humility ended up the Savior of the world. Whom will we follow? Daniel warned Belshazzar, the warning signs are all around us, the writing is on the wall, but it is not too late. We can still turn this around. Reach out to our neighbors, be good citizens, show those around us the Good News of Jesus. The writing may still be on the wall, but for us, and those we bring to Jesus, it will be a glorious time.